Tennis Channel Loses Appeal To Reopen Discrimination Case Against Comcast

Tennis Channel came up short again at the D.C. Court of Appeals in a long-running programming discrimination battle with Comcast.

A ruling yesterday left in place the court’s 2013 decision that Tennis Channel had failed to prove its case against the cable giant: Tennis Channel charged that Comcast discriminated when it put the service on an extra-fee sports tier while putting similar channels that it owns — Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network — on the more popular expanded basic tier.

The FCC sided with Tennis Channel in 2012. The court remanded the decision saying that there was insufficient evidence to prove Comcast had discriminated.

In 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case. Tennis Channel followed by asking the FCC to reopen the matter, saying that it had evidence to meet what it characterized as the court’s new tests to prove discrimination. The FCC declined, and Tennis Channel appealed.

But the FCC “correctly concluded that [the ruling overturning its support for Tennis Channel] left no room for it to find discrimination on the existing administrative record,” the new Appeals Court decision says.

What’s more, “Tennis Channel did not identify the critical evidence it intended to present if the Commission reopened the record.” As a result, “Tennis Channel fails to show the Commission clearly abused its discretion in declining to extend the proceedings.”

Comcast says it’s “pleased the court agreed that the FCC was right in ending this case once and for all.”

Tennis Channel, which Sinclair Broadcasting bought in March for $350 million, declined to comment.

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